CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Sean Monahan scored twice in his first career three-point game, and the Calgary Flames used a four-goal first period to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Friday night.
The 20-year-old Monahan has 10 goals in his last 13 games to move into a tie for 11th in the NHL in goals — one behind Evgeni Malkin and Corey Perry.
It was a big win for the surging Flames, who are 5-0-1 in their last six games. Calgary moved into second place in the Pacific Division, one point up ahead of Vancouver, which has one game in hand.
Monahan’s two wingers, Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau, both had a goal and two assists. The Flames’ top line has been surging with each member on a six-game point streak. The trio has combined for 16 goals and 30 points over that span.
Gaudreau has 19 goals and 53 points, moving him into a tie for the rookie scoring lead with Nashville’s Filip Forsberg.
Calgary also got goals from Drew Shore– his first with the Flames — and Mikael Backlund.
Richard Panik and David Booth, with a pair, scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-16-2 on the road in 2015.
With the Flames leading 2-1 halfway through the first period, a potential momentum-changing moment in the game came in the form of a major penalty to Lance Bouma for a knee-on-knee hit on rookie Brandon Kozun.
It turned out to be a key moment, but not as one might expect.
First, Backlund stripped the puck from Peter Holland at the Flames blue line and broke in alone, beating James Reimer on a wrist shot inside the post.
Three minutes later, still short-handed, Monahan took a beautiful lead pass from T.J. Brodie and scored on another breakaway to make it 4-1 and fire up the raucous sell-out crowd.
The Flames opened a four-goal cushion 1:29 into the second when Monahan scored again. Booth got one back for Toronto at 4:56 but Hudler’s deflection of Dennis Wideman’s point shot on a power play at 8:16 restored the four-goal lead going into to the third period.
Booth’s second of the night 29 seconds into the third gave the Maple Leafs a bit of life but they couldn’t get another past Jonas Hiller, who finished with 25 stops to improve to 21-17-4.
Reimer made 22 saves for Toronto.
NOTES: Backlund extended his point streak to a career-best seven games (3-4-7). … The Flames are 13 games above .500 for the first time since January 5, 2010. … During this 19-game road stretch for the Leafs, dating to the start of January, Toronto has led for only 25:43 out of 1,145 minutes. … Nazem Kadri didn’t play for Toronto. It was third game he missed after being suspended by the team for disciplinary reasons.
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